Merlin Olsen, former pro-football player and NBC football color commentator, has passed away at the age of 69. On 'CHiPs' and 'The Brian Keith Show', Olsen provided a televersion of himself in one episode each.
He also created several characters for Toobworld, both in the present timeline and back in the Old West days circa the 1870s. The most famous of these would be 'Father Murphy' (aka frontiersman John Michael Murphy) and Jonathan Garvey of 'Little House On The Prairie'. Along with Perlee Skowrin, the character he played on 'Kung Fu', these men passed away about a century ago at least.
As for his present day characters, they include:
Aaron Miller, 'Aaron's Way'
Buddy Landau, 'Fathers And Sons'
Merlin Fergus, 'Petticoat Junction'
Todd Simms, "The Golden Moment: An Olympic Love Story"
All of whom could have easily survived to this point in Time, and conceivably will survive the passing of the actor who played them. (It's not like any of them were ever going to be recast in new productions.)
As for Webb McClain, the old friend of Buford Pusser in the TV version of 'Walking Tall', he died in the one episode in which he appeared. McClain had become a paid assassin and was hired to kill his old friend. But Shefiff Pusser was able to outgun him during a hunting trip; to preserve the memory of his old friend, Pusser made it look like McClain died in a hunting accident.
The only character I'm not sure about is Stan Webster, from the TV movie "A Fire In The Sky". There was a cryptic comment at the IMDb.com about how Merlin Olsen saved the day by hiding out in his sleeping bag. I have no idea what that means, but it sounded sarcastic and I have a feeling that Webster died in that sleeping bag.
Not that it matters in the grand scheme of Toobworld, as "A Fire In The Sky" belongs in that alternate TV dimension of prime-time disasters (and I don't mean 'The Jay Leno Show').
So with his work for NBC football and his appearances on 'CHiPs' and 'The Brian Keith Show', Merlin Olsen will one day be inducted as an honorary member of the TV Crossover Hall of Fame.
Good night and may God bless, gentle giant.